Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Maybe in Another Life

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Have you ever wondered how one decision can change your life? If you decide to cross the street at a certain time, does that affect your life? There was a lot of pondering about destiny and fate and what is or isn’t meant to be in this novel. Hannah is at club one night. She meets up with Ethan, a guy she had dated in high school. The book splits into alternating sections: one timeline where she decided to stay at the club with Ethan and one where she leaves with her friend to go home.

I really liked the premise. I enjoy the author and have read all of her books. I was very excited for this one to come out, and I finished it quickly. I would’ve preferred it to be a little less chick-lit-centric, but other than that, I enjoyed it. I like the idea of alternate universes, how each decision we make in life creates a different universe and that there are billions of possible universes where we are living different lives.

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Rosemary : The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larson

Rosemary

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I just finished this book and I guess I was somewhat disappointed : I think I was looking for something a little more revelatory about Rosemary Kennedy.  Ironically, the reason the book wasn’t able to reveal more was outlined in the Author’s Note — a bill sponsored and passed by Senator Edward Kennedy in 1996, called HIPAA, made the medical records relating to Rosemary’s lobotomy surgery in 1941 permanently inaccessible.

That being said, the author does a very good job of recounting Rosemary’s life growing up in America and England.  She also outlines all the great work Eunice Kennedy did in the intervening years with the Special Olympics, spurred on by her sister Rosemary’s disabilities .

On a personal note, Rosemary’s story gave me more background on some issues I know about firsthand in trying to assimilate individuals with disabilities in educational and vocational situations.  It also pointed out to me the stigma and fear people experienced if they had a family member with a disability, often causing families to keep members at home with them or institutionalize them if they could not meet their needs.  Finally, it reinforced what I already knew — families can benefit in so many ways from accepting and welcoming members with disabilities into their lives.

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Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Yes Please

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Amy Poehler is such a nice person!  Funny, down-to-earth, and very likeable, she does a terrific job as the narrator.  Her description of her faults is endearing and easy to relate to.  Aren’t we all our own worst critic?

From her childhood to her work on Saturday Night Live, Baby Mama, Blades of Glory and Parks and Recreation, she shares well-told, amusing anecdotes.  Many of the stars she has worked with appear in the audiobook.  Also included is a special one-night only live performance from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater.

Strange, her need to know more about the day she was born.  This part made me go home and ask my mother about the day I was born.  The answer was very unsatisfactory.  Still, you should listen to Yes Please or read the book if you prefer.  I do recommend it!

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Give Us the Ballot by Ari Berman

Give Us the Ballot

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In 1965, Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, a moment many Americans believed would bring suffrage to all.  But, as this book depicts, the Act signaled both heroic accomplishments and heartbreaking setbacks in the efforts to allow all the right to vote.  Berman approaches his topic as if it were a crime novel.  While working in legal terms and court decisions, his focus on the individuals—both those who thwarted and those who fostered the law—is what holds the reader’s attention.  Moreover, political figures who tried to achieve one result often, ironically, achieved the opposite.

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Swerve by Vicki Pettersson

SwerveSwerve is a dark and twisty novel.  We follow the story of Kristine, who is traveling across the desert with her fiance, Daniel, to a family gathering.  While stopped at an abandoned rest stop, Daniel is abducted.  Kristine must do whatever she can to get Daniel back, following the deranged kidnapper across the desert.

Swerve was definitely a page turner, and I finished it quickly.  It’s hard to say too much without giving away key plot points, but I found this to be well-written, engrossing, and hard to put down.  The characters were well written, and I look forward to reading more by Ms. Pettersson.

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When Books Went to War by Molly Guptill Manning

When Books Went to War

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Think there is nothing much left to know about World War II?  Think again.  This book tells of enlisted men whose one and only form of entertainment became reading, and of the enormous home-front effort to supply them with the books they desperately wanted.  Ms. Manning’s book not only depicts the need of soldiers for books to alleviate the horrors of war, but also reminds us all never to take them for granted.  Librarians, (let’s hear it for them), were the first to realize the lack of books and take steps to organize.  Along the way, we get clear glimpses of the hardships of the soldiers and the deep and varied joy the books brought.  While one might assume that a drive for books for soldiers would only meet with support, one would be wrong.  Along the way, there were problems of supply, cost and, of course, censors.  But the achievements were outstanding.  Indeed, the reader begins to realize that the solace and inspiration that the books brought were as powerful a weapon as any the military could provide.

 

 

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The Murderer’s Daughter by Jonathan Kellerman

The Murderer's Daughter

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This was my first time reading this author, and enjoyed him.  The book was advertised as a thriller, but basically it’s a psychological thriller.  The story follows the life of Dr. Grace Blades, a psychologist, who has a special gift for treating troubled souls, people who have experienced certain traumatic events.  Her own past is very dark, which makes her a fascinating character.   The novel switches from the  past to present day, explaining Grace’s troubled past, which ends up coming back to haunt her grownup life.  Her upbringing was very twisted, which was disturbing.  However, I enjoyed it seeing how she overcame it to become the successful woman she was.

 

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